Vol. 19, No. 36 – September 20, 2020
c. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, vs. 11-32, (continued).
Luke 15:14, “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.”
Here we see that the young son did not leave anything for a “rainy day.” Instead “he had spent everything,” DAPANAO PAS means he burned through his inheritance in short order. “Spent,” is the Aorist, Active, Genitive of the Verb DAPANAO, δαπανάω that means, “spend, bear expense, waste, or consume.” This word is used 5 times, (the number of grace), in the NT. It is used for both good spending, Mark 5:26; Acts 21:24; 2 Cor 12:15, and bad spending, as here and James 4:3.
James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
After foolishly squandering all his money the real famine sets in as, “a severe famine occurred in that country. This phrase uses the Noun LIMOS that means, “famine or hunger,” and in a metaphoric sense means, “one’s mind is hungry or starved,” meaning a lack of information. It is also used as an apocalyptic sign of distress in Mat 24:7; paralleled in Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; Rev 6:8; 18:8. Here, the famine’s severity is pronounced with the Adjective, ISCHUROS, “strong, powerful, mighty, etc.” This occurred “throughout the country,” he was in, KATA HO CHORA, which means “in the foreign land,” meaning Satan’s Cosmic system and living in sin without Bible Doctrine resident within the soul.
LIMOS is also used in Rom 8:35, which we noted above that again reminds us, as does this parable, that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. As a result of the severe famine, the young son “began to be impoverished,” the Aorist, Middle, Indicative of the Verb ARCHO, “began,” with the Present, Middle, Infinitive of the Verb HUSTEREO that means, “to come too late, to lack, want, fail, or be inferior.” Here, it means lacking resources to sustain himself and being in need.
In the positive sense, Paul tells us the mystery of godliness. That is how to get along joyfully in all situations. Phil 4:12, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
In principle, we see that sin results in hunger, and that for the sinful man or woman there is always a famine in the heart of Bible Doctrine and fellowship with God, because the sinner has turned away from God and His Word.
Luke 15:15, “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”
The impoverished young son tries operation human good works by “hiring himself out,” that uses the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb KOLLAO, κολλάω that means, “join, cling, cleave to, or join oneself to.” The principle here is that before the reversionistic believe repents, they typically try to solve their own problem(s) in a humanistic or worldly way, rather than turning to God. But, as we will see, when this too fails, and they are brought to their knees, then they may or will repent.
The primary definition of KOLLAO is “to glue” or “to cement” together. In the NT, this word is used figuratively rather than literally. It is also used for good or bad joining, where in 1 Cor 6:16, it is bad joining in sexual relationship with a prostitute, and in vs 17, it is good joining with God. The use of this word in our passage may figuratively mean he hired himself out as a male prostitute to a pimp.
Yet, this passage states his job was literally out “in the fields to feed the swine,” EIS AGROS BOSKO CHOIROS. You can see the imagery here too, as the “fields” are the streets and the “swine” are the patrons!
BOSKO means, “to feed, tend, graze, or pasture.” Therefore, the literal job of this young son was to be a shepherd or herdsman. This is the second time Luke uses BOSKO and CHOIROS, where we first noted them in Luke 8:32-33, when Jesus sent the “legion,” of possessing demons into a herd of swine that then ran into lake and drowned, cf. Mat 8:30-32; Mark 5:11-16. CHOIROS is only otherwise used figuratively in Mat 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
BOSKO is only used otherwise in John 21:15, 17, when Jesus was asking Peter how much he loved Him and told him to feed His lambs and sheep. Therefore, we see that the rebellious young man received a picture of God’s caring love for him as a reminder, trying to get him to wake up from his sinful ways and repent / return back to Him.
“The parable now describes the depths to which the prodigal had sunk. His moral desolation was shown by the occupation to which he stooped: tending pigs. There could be no worse job for a Jew than swineherding. Swine were considered to be unclean animals and expressly forbidden in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 11:7; Deuteronomy 14:8). This contrasted sharply with the customs of other people of the ancient world. For example, the pig was the most frequently sacrificed animal among the Greeks. This contrast between Judaism and paganism became the edge of conflict during the period of the Maccabean persecution. In that time the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes, in his attempt to Hellenize the Palestinian Jews, sacrificed pigs to Zeus on the altar of the Jerusalem temple and forced the Jews to eat pork. To the Jews, the pig had become a symbol of the pagan world, the epitome of Jewish intolerance and abhorrence of the Gentilic lifestyle.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).
This principle here is that this arrogant sinful young man held on to the belief that he could maintain his self-sufficiency, even though it meant complete humiliation. God often uses times of distress to lead us to self-examination to bring about changes or repentance in our lives, as we will see in vs. 17.
Have you had enough of trying to go it alone? If so, God is waiting for you with open arms to spread His mercy, grace, and love on you and care for you!
1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
Luke 15:16, “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.”
“He would have gladly,” in the Greek states “he was longing,” using the Active, Imperfect for ongoing action, Indicative Verb EPITHUMEO, ἐπιθυμέω that means, “desire, long for, or lust for or after,” and then “filled his stomach,” is actually, “to be satisfied,” using the Aorist, Passive, Infinitive of the Verb CHORTAZO, χορτάζω that means, “satisfy, satiate hunger, or fill.” Therefore, “He was longing to have his hunger satisfied …”
Next we have, “with the pods/husks,” EK HO KERATION, κεράτιον a noun that means, “little horn, husk, or pod.” It is only used here in the NT. In classical Greek, it usually implied the fruit of the carob or locust tree. It yielded long, as much as 12 inches, edible pods, reminiscent of sheep horns or sickles containing a sweet pulp and several brown shining seeds like beans that was fed to animals and sometimes consumed by humans. It is common in Syria and the southern parts of Europe.
“That the swine were eating,” CHOIROS ESTHIO. At this point he would have eaten even what the pigs were eating. Therefore, living a life of sin eventually leads to want and desire of the basic necessities of life that you bring upon yourself. Not only does the fun and pleasure run out, but the bare necessities to survive run out. Even though God promises our logistical grace blessings, the apostate believer causes even those to be rejected causing themselves destitution.
“And no one was giving anything to him,” KAI OUDEIS DIDOMI AUTOS. Even though he was “working,” his hunger was not being satisfied, and he was not receiving any charity from others. In arrogance, he was feeling sorry for himself, thinking that others should be providing for him, most likely like his father had been doing all of his life, even though he squandered his inheritance. The arrogant always have their hand out, thinking that others should provide for them, even while they are living in their sins.
The paradox Jesus is making here is that even this food that was passable for the filthy swine, was unavailable for the young man. The detestable pigs were now eating better than the prodigal son. Therefore, in this first portion, we see that sin is a destroyer and Satan is a devourer. When we give ourselves over to sin, we are giving ourselves to Satan and he will consume us until there is nothing left.
“Because he wants to gratify his sinful desires, he also makes himself homeless by going to “a distant country” (v. 13). Without self-control or delayed gratification, he ends up penniless (v. 14). In the end he is friendless and foodless (vv. 15-16). He wallows in the pigpen with what Jewish persons considered disgustingly unclean animals. A sinful life is a riches-to-rags story. His life slides deep into squalor and loneliness. If you live for yourself you’ll soon live by yourself. He doesn’t have a friend in the world to help him (v. 16). This is what living apart from Christ looks like from the vantage point of heaven. God the Father watches his rich but rebellious children squander his love and his riches as they run from Him to the far country of sin. Sinners want all the goodness of God’s creation and all the enjoyment of God’s blessings, but they do not want God himself. They do not understand his Fatherhood. They refuse to return His love. Unless God restrains the sinner, they squander their lives and waste away as they chase every desire of the flesh. “Life” apart from God is really a slow death. Apart from God we are living to die. But repentance is dying to live. It is dying to self that allows us to find life in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Christ-Centered Exposition).
2) The repentant and restored, vs. 17-24.
Luke 15:17, “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!’”
When this young man was brought to his lowest of lows, “he came to his senses,” which is an idiom that in the Greek is the Aorist, Active, Participle of the Verb ERCHOMAI with EIS HEAUTOU that literally states, “he came to himself.” In other words, he realized his depravity and destitute along with the reality of trying to do things his own way that ultimately led to his failure. This realization, (reality check), led him back to His father. Therefore, when we are brought to our lowest point, we realize our depravity and seek alternative solutions – God!
In this case, the young man thought to himself, “how many,” the Interrogative Pronoun POSOS, “of my fathers,” the Genitive use of EGO HO PATER, “hired men,” the noun MISTHIOS, “hired person or common laborer,” only used by Luke here and vs. 19, “have more than enough bread,” using the Present, Middle, Indicative of the Verb PERISSEOU and the noun ARTOS. We noted PERISSEOU, “To be more than enough, to have an abundance of, etc.,” in Luke 9:17, regarding the left-over pieces of bread after Jesus fed more than 5,000. This reminds us that God’s provisions for us are more than enough both in the physical and spiritual life, especial with Jesus being the “Bread of life,” John 6:35, 48, 51.
Realizing the abundance that the father has, he compared his own plight to that, “but I am dying here with hunger!” This phrase uses the contrasting Conjunction DE, “but,” with Personal Pronoun EGO, the Verb APOLLUMI in the Present, Middle, Indicative, which we have noted several times in this chapter for the word “lost,” that means, “destroy, ruin, kill, lose, be lost, perish, etc.,” with the Noun LIMOS, “hunger or famine.” We could say, “but I am lost in famine,” to be consistent with the parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, yet, “I am dying here with hunger” is a good translation. And that is where God found him.
As we noted previously, this indicates no relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, because he did not have His Word resident within his soul. This physical hunger and starvation, is the analogy of spiritual hunger as a result of sin, carnality, reversionism, and or apostasy within the soul that results in the loss of previous doctrine that was stored in the soul, along with the fact that no new nutrients of spiritual food were coming in. Therefore, he was about to die.
By analogy, this also indicates that this young man was on the verge of the third stage of divine discipline, the “Sin Unto Death,” Psa 7:14-16; 1 Cor 11:30; 1 John 5:16-17.
Psa 7:14-16, “Behold, he travails with wickedness, and he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood. 15He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, and has fallen into the hole which he made. 16His mischief will return upon his own head, and his violence will descend upon his own head.”
1 Cor 11:30, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”
1 John 5:16, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.”
The “sin leading to death” or better, “sin face‑to‑face with death,” which we call the “Sin Unto Death,” (SUD), is God’s maximum discipline for the believer who has repeated sin in their life or a sinful lifestyle where there is no repentance / Rebounding. It is maximum Divine discipline from the integrity of God towards the perpetual sinning believer. As you know, God has never made a judgment of anyone that excludes the love of God. Therefore, God’s judgment of this person is always fair.
Divine discipline results from the believer using his own volition to create his own failures in life after salvation. In the three stages of Divine disciple, “weak, sick, sleep,” the SUD is the highest form of disgrace that can occur for the believer. It implies loss of reward and blessing and ashamedness at the judgment seat of Christ. Yet, even in the SUD, God’s grace and love are found!
Doctrine of Divine Discipline
A. Definition and description.
1. Divine discipline is the sum total of punitive action taken by the justice of God in grace to correct, to punish, to encourage, to train, and to motivate the believer’s free will back to the plan of God. Therefore, Divine discipline is distinguished from Divine judgment, in that discipline is for believers only, but judgment is directed toward all categories of the human race and angels under certain circumstances, Heb 12:5-8.
Heb 12:8, “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Cf. Deut 8:5; 2 Sam 7:14; Prov 13:24; 19:18; 23:13f.
2. When believers get out of fellowship through sin, human good, or evil, we bring suffering on ourselves.
a. This suffering is in the form of Divine discipline that includes three potential stages of Divine Discipline as noted in 1 Cor 11:30, “some are weak and sick and a number sleep.”
b. It also includes the law of volitional responsibility with its self‑imposed, self‑induced, and self-indulged forms of misery. Bad decisions not only destroy future options in life, but they result in tremendous misery manufactured by ourselves, for which we must take the responsibility. The resultant discomfort, misery, and unhappiness may last for a short or long period of time. This is the law of “you reap what you sow,” Gal 6:7-8; Cf. Prov 22:8.
Gal 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh (Old Sin Nature) will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
c. If we do not use the most basic Problem Solving Device of Rebound, 1 John 1:9, we will continue in a state of carnality, cosmic living, or reversionism. Carnality is a brief stay in the cosmic system; reversionism is a prolonged residence in the cosmic system. Only in time are we, members of the Royal Family of God, disciplined in the form of suffering.
d. If the believer persists in the three categories under the law of volitional responsibility, i.e., self‑imposed, self‑induced, and self-indulged misery, it is obvious that God will add to it if you do not come around through Rebound.
3. Punishment from God often follows the failure to Rebound from our sins. Our every sin originates from our free will. Though temptation may come from the Old Sin Nature or another source, we make the decision to sin! All wrong decisions come from some form of arrogance or lust. (See Old Sin Nature Chart on our website.)
4. While God is the source of Divine discipline, man’s free will is the source of suffering under the law of volitional responsibility. God uses His sovereignty and perfect judgment to know when it is time to warn us that we are out of fellowship, and to bring us back to reality with varying categories of punishment.
5. All Divine discipline, except the Sin Unto Death, is always designed to correct, to train, and to motivate.
6. Although Divine discipline is suffering, we should not look at it that way, as we associate with suffering, but it is teaching from the grace of God, Job 5:17. All of us must learn certain things the hard way through Divine discipline, Psa 119:75; Heb 12:11.
Job 5:17, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
Psa 119:75, “I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”
Heb 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
So you can learn the easy way, from your Pastor‑Teacher, Eph 4:11-16, or you can learn directly from God, the hard way by which you hurt, Prov 3:11-12.
Prov 3:11-13, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, 12For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. 13How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.”
7. During the Church Age, the Age of Grace, God has designed the spiritual gift and office of Pastor-Teacher to also provide discipline where necessary, 1 Tim 5:20; 2 Tim 4:2-3.
1 Tim 5:20, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”
2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
B. Purpose for Divine Discipline.
1. The purpose of Divine discipline is twofold in Rev 3:19, to “reprove” and “discipline” the wayward son.
a. “Reprove” is the Greek Word ELEGCHO that means, “to expose, prove guilty, convict, condemn, reprove or rebuke.” This is the action taken by both God, in the suffering we endure through adverse situations He brings upon us, and the Pastor-Teacher when one of his sheep goes astray. In the case of the Pastor-Teacher, he can do this privately or if necessary publicly behind the pulpit, as we noted in 1 Tim 5:20 and 2 Tim 4:2. Reproving and Rebuking are both verbal tongue lashing done privately and publicly if necessary. Whether it is from God or the Pastor, it is designed to expose the sin, human good, or evil the child of God is entering into and call it out for what it is, along with its destructive behavior and consequences.
It is best when the child of God is exposed to their own sin, human good, or evil, so that they can recognize it and then Rebound and make the appropriate corrections or adjustments in their lives (repent). Sometimes this exposure may need to be brought before the congregation so that they too are not negatively influenced by that child’s sin, human good or evil.
b. “Discipline” is the Greek verb PAIDEUO that means, “to train children, to chasten, correct, to instruct, teach, discipline; whip, scourge, or beat.” So you can see that there is both a learning component and a punishment component. It means to train up a child, which includes educating them about their wrong thoughts and actions. It can come through the teaching of God’s Word or through overt suffering or difficulties brought into our lives. If they do not wake up as a result, God will bring in further punitive action to that child, “Weak, Sick, and the Sin Unto Death.” The one who heeds the training from the reproof and discipline will “be zealous and repent, Rev 3:19.” That is, change their way of thinking and get back into the Plan of God. Therefore, Divine discipline is designed to motivate the believer to recover residence inside God’s Power System, the only place we as members of the Royal Family of God can execute His plan for our lives.
2. Divine discipline is a warning that the believer is out of bounds and not executing God’s plan, but functioning in Satan’s cosmic system. The boundaries of God’s plan are defined in terms of God’s Power System.
a. As a perfect plan, God’s plan must be executed in bounds, not out of bounds. Just as the referee blows the whistle, the flag is thrown, and the penalty is given when a player is out of bounds in a sports game, so God blows the whistle on us through the administration of punishment: Divine discipline.
b. If you cannot learn from humility, you learn from hurting. Learning from hurting is the limited lesson of motivation to rebound and recover from the cosmic system.
c. The believer must recover from the cosmic system to live inside God’s Power System. Only inside God’s Power System is logistical grace provision exploited to the glory of God, with momentum in the spiritual life.
d. The cosmic believer who does not learn from Divine discipline is eventually removed from this life under painful circumstances, 1 Cor 11:30; 1 John 5:16-17.
C. Recovery from Divine Discipline.
1. When the believer uses Rebound, God exercises one of three options on his behalf, though the purpose for the suffering has changed from discipline to blessing. All suffering for blessing is designed to accelerate spiritual growth.
a. The removal of all disciplinary suffering.
b. Discipline suffering is diminished, but is now designed for blessing. The reason the suffering is reduced is so that you can bear it. God never gives us more than we can bear in fellowship, 1 Cor 10:13.
c. Disciplinary suffering continues at the same intensity, but is now designed for blessing. It continues at the same intensity because you can bear it and gain blessing from it, Job 5:17‑18.
In summary, most of our suffering comes from ourselves under the law of volitional responsibility. But when we ignore the suffering incurred from the law of volitional responsibility and continue to live in the dungeon of the cosmic system, then God brings us back to reality.
The arrogance complex of sins inside of Satan’s cosmic system is so great and powerful that it divorces us from reality. So, God first administers warning discipline. When that does not work, He adds intensified discipline. At this point, God now uses the believer for an entirely different purpose. No longer can he fulfill God’s plan. However, God keeps him alive, though obnoxious, psychotic, neurotic, or sociopathic for people testing for those believers advancing through the valley of Momentum Testing. Eventually, if he does not wake up, God takes him home under the Sin Unto Death.
2. Case histories of believers who have faced the sin face‑to‑face with death.
a. Certain believers in Philippi, Phil 3:18‑19.
b. Certain believers in the church at Laodicea, Rev 3:16.
c. King Saul, 1 Chron 10:13‑14. This is occult reversionism resulting in the sin face‑to‑face with death.
d. 1 Cor 11:27‑28, 30‑31, describes participating in the communion service in a state of perpetual carnality resulting in the sin face‑to‑face with death. You have a choice between using the rebound technique or dying from divine discipline.
e. King Hezekiah had an evil foreign policy of going to Egypt for help, Isa 30:1‑3. So God put him under the sentence of the sin which terminates with death, Isa 38. He rebounded and was given more time to live.
f. The case of the incestuous Corinthian, 1 Cor 5:1‑10, who recovered, 2 Cor 7:8‑11.
g. The case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1‑10. Their life in perpetual carnality was manifest by lying to God.
h. The case of Hymenaeus and Alexander, 1 Tim 1:19‑20, who also lived in perpetual carnality.
Never-the-less, God’s discipline is designed to warn us, train us and wake us up to the reality of our negative situation so that with our free will volition we get back into the Plan of God, walking in fellowship with Him being filled with the Holy Spirit producing Divine Good, John 15:1-5, 8, while storing up blessings and rewards for time and eternity, 1 Cor 3:10-15.
Heb 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-096 & 20-097 & 20-098
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!